What’s the most beautiful-sounding English word?

From ameliorate to bungalow, MyRaganites offer their suggestions.

“Cellar-door” is the most beautiful-sounding word in the English language, according to a recent dictionary.com survey. Do you agree?

Our communication colleagues on MyRagan certainly didn’t. Some pointed out that “cellar door” is a phrase, not a word, and therefore doesn’t qualify. Here, then, are some of their offerings. Take a look and weigh in.

  • Friday afternoon
  • Considering the ghosts, goblins, spider webs and instruments of destruction that Hannibal the Cannibal could use that are often hidden in the cellar, I find it difficult to believe that “cellar door” is the most beautiful-sounding English word (especially since the phrase is two words, not one). My vote goes to “aroma.” It not only sounds good, it also releases memories of pleasant odors.
  • If it can be two words, the clear winner is “open bar.”
  • It’s “mellifluous,” hence its definition
  • Free
  • Chocolate
  • If dictionary.com is going to cheat and declare a two-word phrase the most beautiful “word,” then we could do likewise and suggest a longer phrase like “will you marry me?” On the other hand, if we are to restrict our quest to a single word, then our answer will depend on the criteria we use to quantify beauty. Lyricists and poets might suggest words built from letters with pleasant sounds (eschewing the hissing “c” of “cellar door”). Novelists may give more weight to the word’s meaning, emotion, and associated imagery. Combining both of those criteria, I would suggest “alleluia.”
  • Ameliorate. It sounds pretty and it means “to make better.” And the opposite is “exacerbate,” one of the uglier words that sounds harsh and means “to worsen.”
  • I always loved the word “policy” growing up. Sometimes I’d even write stories about a girl named Policy.
  • Joy, heartfelt, wonderful, or sincerely.
  • I love “debacle.” The meaning isn’t so lovely, but the sound of the word is.
  • Bungalow
  • Serenity


Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.